Friday, August 13, 2021

Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition – Second Sight (UHD/BluRay/CD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1978
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: George A. Romero
Cast: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early

Release Date: November 16th, 2020
Approximate running times: 127 Minutes 7 Seconds  (Theatrical Cut), 139 Minutes 28 Seconds (Extended Cannes Cut), 119 Minutes 37 Seconds (Argento Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10 (Theatrical Cut, Extended Cannes Cut), 1.85:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / SDR (Argento Cut)
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English, DTS-HD Mono English (Theatrical Cut, Argento Cut), DTS-HD Mono English (Extended Cannes Cut)
Subtitles: English SDH (All Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free (UHD)/Region B (Blu-Ray)
Retail Price: £79.99

"With the U.S. in the grip of a zombie apocalypse, four desperate survivors find refuge in a shopping mall. But the flesh-eating hordes, still possessed by an instinctive desire to consume, are drawn to the same destination. What follows is a nail-biting fight for survival." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5 (Theatrical Cut), 4.75/5 (Extended Cannes Cut), 4.25/5 (Argento Cut)

Here’s the information provided about the transfers, theatrical cut: "New 4K scan and restoration of the Original Camera Negative by Second Sight at Final Frame New York and London supervised and approved by DoP Michael Gornick", extended Cannes cut: "Produced using 4k scan of the Theatrical Cut Original Camera Negative and 4K scan of the Extended Cut Color Reversal Internegative" and Argento cut: "4K scan of the Interpositive by Michele De Angelis at Backlight Digital, Rome".

The theatrical cut comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 65.5 GB

Feature: 63.4 GB

The extended Cannes cut comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 64 GB

Feature: 61.9 GB

The Argento cut comes on 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 62.6 GB

Feature: 60.6 GB

The theatrical cut is the strongest of the three presentations. The source used is in excellent shape, colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look correct, image clarity, black levels and compression look solid throughout and grain remains intact, albeit it does not look as thick as it does for the other two versions transfers.

Though the extended Cannes cut comes from a different source than the theatrical cut. The result is another solid transfer. That said, the image is not as crisp as it is for the theatrical cut and the grain looks thicker. Colors are nicely saturated, black levels look very good and there are no issues with compression.

The Argento cut comes from a different source then the other two versions. And the result is the weakest of the three transfers. The image looks crisp, colors look vibrant, there are no issues with compression and grain is most pronounced on this transfer. That said, the black levels have some issues related black crush.

Audio: 5/5

The theatrical cut and the Argento cut come with three audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The extended Cannes cut comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. All of the audio mixes are in great shape, there are no issues with distortion or background hiss, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, ambient sounds are well-represented and the score sounds appropriately robust. Range wise, the DTS-HD mono mixes sound limited at times, while the DTS-HD stereo mixes sound fuller and the DTS-HD 5.1 mixes take advantage of the sound spectrum, while remaining true to the original mono source. All three versions come with removable English SDH subtitles.

Extras:

Extras on UHD disc one (Theatrical Cut) include an archival audio commentary with screenwriter/director George A. Romero, special effects Tom Savini, assistant director Christine Forrest and moderated by Perry Martin and an audio commentary with film critic Travis Crawford.

Extras on UHD disc two (Extended Cannes Cut) include an archival audio commentary with producer Richard P Rubinstein and moderated by Perry Marin.

Extras on UHD disc three (Argento Cut) include an archival cast audio commentary with Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross and David Emge.

Extras on a fourth disc a dual layer Blu-ray (Region B) include trailers, TV spots and radio spots (18 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival documentary titled The Dead Will Walk (75 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and Italian with English subtitles for Italian language), Document of the Dead: The Original Cut (91 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Document of the Dead: The Definitive Cut (102 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles, with optional audio commentary with director Roy Frumkes), super 8 mall footage (13 minutes 25 seconds, optional archival audio commentary with Robert Langer and an audio commentary with Ralph Langer), The Lost Romero Dawn Interview (20 minutes 28 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Richard France titled Dummies! Dummies! (12 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Tom Savini titled The FX of Dawn (12 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Michael Gornick, Christine Forrest, John Amplas, Tom Dubensky titled Raising the Dead: The Production Logistics (25 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a tour of the mall with cinematographer Michael Gornick, Tom Savini, assistant cameraman Tom Dubensky and stuntman Taso Stavrakis titled Memories of Monroeville (34 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and a documentary titled Zombies and Bikers (58 minutes 30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).

Others extras include three CD’s that contain music from the film.

The first CD contains Goblin’s score. Here’s the track listing, L’alba Dei Morti Viventi,

Zombi, Safari, Torte In Faccia, Ai Margini Della Follia, Zaratozom, La Caccia, Tirassegno, Oblio, Risveglio, L’alba Dei Morti Viventi (Alternate Take), Ai Margini Della Follia (Alternate Take), Zombi (Sexy), Ai Margini Della Follia (Alternate Take), Zombi (Supermarket), L’alba Dei Morti Viventi (Intro – Alternate Take) and Zombi (The Living Deads Voices!).

The second CD contains tracks from the De Wolfe music library. Here’s the track listing, Cosmogony Part 1, Dramatic Moments No. 1, Sinstre, Dramatic Moments No. 2, Violence, Cosmogony Part 3, Eclipse, Dark Forest, Cause I’m a Man, Figments, Dynamise 65, Cosmogony Part 4, The Mask of Death, Cosmogony Part 2, Victorian Vintage, Queka, Scarey I, Scarey II, Zap, Spinechiller, Violent Payoff Version 2, Waiting for the Man, Flossie, Neurotic Bird, Desert De Glace, Dank Earth (Part 1), Red Sequence, Barrage and Face at the Window.

The third CD contains tracks from the De Wolfe music library. Here’s the track listing, We Are the Champions, Ragtime Razzamatazz, Tango Tango, Fugarock, Sonata, El Chapo, Dramaturgy Part 1, Night Life, Sun High, Cantano, On His Own, Mechanical High Jinx, Dramaturgy Part 2, So Fantastico, Violence Sting 1, Caverne De Glace, Dramatic Moments No. 3, Deserted Vaults, Action Pack, Kadath, Proud Action, Dramatic Moments No. 4 and The Gonk.

Rounding out the extras is a Dawn of the Dead: The novelization book written by George A. Romero and Susanna Sparrow, and 150-page hardback book that contains, an essay titled Dawn of the Dead – Over and Over written by Chris Alexander, an essay titled A Real-Life Nightmare written by Tony Williams, an essay titled Romero’s New American Gothic written by Kat Ellinger, an essay titled Superschlock! written by Jon Towlson, an essay titled Attention All Shoppers: Dawn of the Dead and The Monroeville Mall written by Neil Mitchell, an essay titled They’re Us, That’s All: The Undead and The Unliving In Dawn of the Dead written by Allison Taylor, an essay titled Fingers to the Bone: Class Conflict in Zombie Cinema written by Craig Ian Mann, an essay titled Thing’s About Francine written by Lorna Jowett, an essay titled Dawn Man: Challenged Masculinity in Dawn of the Dead written by Manuela Lazic, an essay titled Combat Shock: Reflections on Vietnam and the War Movie Genre in Dawn of the Dead written by Martyn Conterio, an essay titled Living Down Standing Up written by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, an essay titled George A. Romero’s Dystopias: The Representation of Dystopia in the Universe of His Zombie Trilogy written by Michal Zgorzalek, an essay titled A Bleaker Ending written by Justine Smith, an essay titled A Form of Punk: The Production and Distribution of Dawn of the Dead written by Daniel Bird, an essay titled Needle-Drop Nightmares written by Jim Cirronella, an essay titled Muzak of the Dead: Production Music Liner Notes written by Jim Cirronella, an essay titled Dawn of the Nasties written by Tim Murray, Tales from the Darkside: An Interview with George A. Romero, an essay titled Io Zombo, Tu Zombi, Lei Zomba: Italian Variations on Dawn of the Dead written by Roberto Curti, Dawn of the Dead – The Restoration, Production Credits and Acknowledgements.

Summary:

“What are they doing? Why do they come here?” – Francine

“Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.” – Stephen

Dawn of the Dead is the second film in George A. Romero’s initial zombie trilogy. The other two film’s being Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead. And while there is an underlying continuity which connects the three films Each film reflects the mood from the decade in which they was made. With consumerism being a main focal point of Dawn of the Dead.

More often than not, sequels never quite live up to their predecessors. With the rare exception in which a sequel ends up out shining its predecessor. Dawn of the Dead is one of those film’s which falls into the latter-category.

Sure, George A. Romero had more control and resources with Dawn of the Dead than he had with Night of the Living Dead. Also, he had a decade in between the two film’s in which he could refine where he wanted to take the series. And as much as these two things add greatly to Dawn of the Dead’s durability. Ultimately, one should not overlook or under value George A. Romero’s brilliant screenplay.

Every aspect of this production excels, the direction, the pacing, the performances and its biting satirical tone. Another strength of Dawn of the Dead is its colorful assortment of characters, which include a biker gang which take care of zombies in a comical fashion. Also, the interplay between the four main characters (who seek refuge in a shopping mall) is the key element that elevates Dawn of the Dead beyond a mere gut munching zombie film. Of course no zombie film would be complete without an ample of gore. And Dawn of the Dead delivers when it comes to gore.

Over the years there have been many imitators, who all pale in comparison to Dawn of the Dead. And in the forty-two years since George A. Romero directed this film. He has yet to eclipse what he achieved with Dawn of the Dead.

Second Sight Films have put together an impressive release that is not only one of the best release of 2020, it’s arguably the best home video releases any film has ever received, highly recommended.

4k UHD Screen Caps.
                                           Screenshots theatrical cut.








                                           Screenshots extended Cannes cut.








                                           Screenshots Argento cut.









Written by Michael Den Boer

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